Kamala Travel & City Guide
Once a fisherman’s village, it prides itself in maintaining a simple and laid-back atmosphere.
Kamala Beach is located north of Patong and is another west coast beach town on Phuket. Once a quiet Muslim fishing village, it still maintains a sense of tranquillity as it is less populated than a lot of areas along the western coastline. This, in fact, makes it very charming and ideal for those who prefer a peaceful environment.
The road that enters Kamala’s main thoroughfare from Patong is quite large with four lanes and several sets of traffic lights, making it easy to believe that there isn’t much to see. However, there is a left turn just at the bottom of the hill as you enter that will lead you to an enticing piece of paradise along the beachfront.
Kamala’s beach street begins your journey into something quite different. There you’ll find several quaint little restaurants and bars, as well as various shops and convenience stores. That all sounds quite normal but there is a certain cosiness that can be felt in this area, somewhere you have to go to experience the feeling for yourself.
WHERE TO STAY
A mixture of hotels and smaller boutique style resorts are found in the north of Kamala, just prior to Phuket Fantasea, whilst several guesthouses along the beach are found on the road leading to the Kamala Police station. A couple of high end hotels and several exclusive villa estates with amazing ocean views align the winding road which runs out on the cape at the southern end of Kamala. Low budget rooms are available for short or long-term rental.
WHAT TO DO
The beach is perfect for surfers during the low season from May to November when waves are high, or for swimmers when the water is calm in the high season. Its pristine stretch of soft, white sand makes Kamala excellent for a day out at the beach any time of the year when the sun is shining.
A coral reef at the north end of the beach is a superb spot for snorkelling, while if you hire a kayak you can venture further around the sea and surrounding rocks.
The town is also home to the Kamala Tsunami Monument where each year on the anniversary of the tragedy, memorial ceremonies are held in commemoration of the natural disaster, with prayer services and wreaths laid in remembrance. This site is worth visiting at any time of the year where you should bring your camera along for some photo opportunities of the memorial, as well as the surrounding area.
If you fancy discovering what’s underneath the water’s surface, diving is also available from Kamala Beach, which is home to several dive shops. Whether you’re a first timer or an experienced diver there are plenty of sites that suit all skill levels. Koh Weo are two small islands surrounded by coral with depths of between 4 and 20 metres making it ideal for beginners and those more accomplished. Other nearby dive sites include Laem Son, Nakala Reef and Tai Pau.
Phuket Fantasea, the ultimate night-time cultural theme park is definitely worth a visit.
WHERE TO EAT
There is a wide choice when it comes to eating and drinking in Kamala, despite its small-town atmosphere. In fact, it is home to an impressive amount of high-end restaurants, many of which afford expansive views across the sea and where you can indulge in a variety of cuisines, such as French, Italian and Thai.
The main road in Kamala is lined with more affordable Thai and international eateries, as is the beach road, which also boasts spectacular views of the sunset for your pre-dinner drinks. There are also German and Scandinavian foods available to make the variety even more appealing.
Nightlife in Kamala really revolves around the small bars and restaurants that can be found near the beach and along the main thoroughfare. There is a beer garden, music venue, sports bar and even an Australian pub in terms of themed venues, with several smaller bars that are perfect for enjoying a chilled out drink. Many of these places don’t stay open very late and a few close during the low season but there is still enough choice for those that prefer a mellow atmosphere.
Kamala is also home to a range of resorts and high-end hotels where you can sit back and relax with a cocktail and soak in an impressive view within comfy lounges or bars overlooking the beach.
Patong, being just a 10 minute drive south, is ideal to venture out for a big night out. This makes it an ideal location for those that like a laid-back holiday while being close to the hustle and bustle of Phuket’s party town.
Kamala is considerably small-scale in comparison to other areas on the island but it does offer great market opportunities. Every Friday, the Kamala Friday Market is held opposite Fantasea. It is open from 16:00 to approximately 21:00 and sells everything from clothing to electronics, with its main draw being the food section, as is the case with most markets. Kamala Beach Plaza along the beach road is full of beachwear, like bikinis, sarongs, and swimming shorts. It’s also a good spot to search for souvenirs and gifts to take back home for friends and family.
It is also worth checking out Kamala Walk Way, situated just off of Rim Haad Road with its range of retail outlets, including art galleries, massage parlours, tailor shops and even a tattoo studio.
In addition, there are several bars, cafés and restaurants in this particular vicinity, making it perfect for having an all-in-one experience. There is also a Big C superstore in Kamala, a popular outlet that sells everything from food to toiletries and all at a fair price.
If you want to indulge in some serious shopping then head a short distance south over the hill to Patong for shopping malls, street stalls and much more.